The third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship ended with a win for the Richard Mille AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE, first across the line at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with Alessio Rovera taking the chequered flag, in a result celebrated alongside team-mates Lilou Wadoux and Luis Perez Companc. In the LMGTE Am class, the other Prancing Horse cars posted sixth and eighth place for the AF Corse and Kessel Racing teams, while the Ferrari in the VistaJet livery was forced to withdraw after 79 laps.
Historic result. Official Ferrari drivers Wadoux and Rovera registered a first triumph for the crew debuting in the 2023 Endurance World Championship. Starting fifth with the Argentinean driver at the wheel, the Richard Mille AF Corse team made their presence felt from the get-go. Wadoux, who over the course of her mid-race 49-lap stint, climbed the order to eventually occupy a place in the top two. In the latter stages, Rovera further consolidated the lead, setting a 2'14"829 lap time – which turned out to be the day’s best – and crossing the finish line with a margin of 18"653 over the number 33 Corvette.
It was a maiden victory for the 22-year-old Frenchwoman in a Maranello car, marking her third FIA World Championship race as an official Prancing Horse driver. Wadoux’s result in Belgium also gives her the honour of becoming the first female driver to climb onto the top step of the podium in the FIA WEC since the championship was established in 2012.
The challenge. Extraordinary work from AF Corse’s technicians and mechanics enabled the number 21 Ferrari to be at the start of the Spa 6 Hours, despite damage sustained in the Free Practice 2 session. Starting from the back of the grid, the 488 GTE made the most of the excellent start by Ulysse de Pauw, who had climbed into the top three in the early stages on a wet track. Simon Mann and Diego Alessi, both at the wheel for double stints, stiffened the crew’s resolve, with Belgian de Pauw having the honour of taking the chequered flag to the applause of the 'home' crowd.
The traditional Belgian round also saw the Kessel Racing team’s eighth place go into the archives; a result achieved by the team made up of Takeshi Kimura, Scott Huffaker and Daniel Serra. Starting seventh, the Ferrari in the yellow livery, after the stint of the Bronze-licenced Japanese driver, handed over to the American Huffaker before the official Ferrari driver Serra climbed into the cockpit.
It was an unlucky showing, however, for the crew of the Ferrari number 54: after Thomas Flohr’s stints in the first two hours, Francesco Castellacci span off into the gravel, forcing the AF Corse team to withdraw the car before Davide Rigon was able to get on board.